Norris: No chance of beating Red Bull in China

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SHANGHAI, China — McLaren driver Lando Norris believes championship leaders Red Bull are locked on for a comfortable one-two victory at the Chinese Grand Prix and doubts he will be able to put up a fight for third place against the Ferraris starting behind him.

Norris started Saturday morning’s sprint race from first position, but slipped sixth after he was run wide by Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen going on to win the race by 13 seconds.

Norris qualified fourth on the grid for Sunday’s full-length Chinese Grand Prix, behind the two Red Bulls and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, and ahead of teammate Oscar Piastri and the two Ferraris.

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But when he was asked if a podium finish was possible in the race, Norris laughed the prospect off.

“Yeah, no chance,” he said. “The Red Bulls will probably lap everyone multiple times!

“Ferrari, I think, will not be as quick as them but they’ll be close enough. I think they’re out of our league.

“As soon as they had clean air this morning it was quite easy for him to pull away. So not expecting anything surprising.

“We said before the weekend we’d struggle, I think we’ve done a better job than we thought in low fuel, but definitely in high fuel everything that we expect, happens, and I think that’s why we struggle so much.

“I still look forward to it, I think we can still have a good race, we can still fight for some good points, and if we get lucky with some other things it can still be a good day.”

Norris expects McLaren to be in a battle for points with Alonso and Mercedes’ George Russell, who qualified eighth, in Sunday’s race.

“I think we’re in a good position,” he said. “I think our battle will be with the Aston and probably with the Mercedes at some point, so we’ll see. But today I think was a good day.

“Even with what happened this morning [in the sprint race], I think our pace was not bad. I think comparing to Mercedes, comparing to Aston, we’re in a similar boat.

“It’s just Red Bull are a mile ahead and then Ferrari are another big chunk ahead of us. With everyone else I think we’re there or thereabouts, and should be a good race.”

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